The Ibn Alfakhar Family
Scholars and Diplomats
The ibn Alfakhar family was one of the
most distinguished in Christian Spain. They began in Granada but fled from
the Almohads in mid-12th century. They
settled in Toledo, where they were recognized by both the Jewish and
Christian communities for their knowledge and skills. Abraham Abu Itzchak
ibn Alfakhar was the Patriarch of the family. He was knowledged in Arabic
and the Koran. King Alfonso VIII made him chief rabbi of Castille..He was
sent on a diplomatic mission by King Alfonso VIII to the sultan of the
Almohads in Morocco. He was a noted poet, and he also supported Hebrew
poets. He wrote an Arabic eulogy for Alfonso VIII.
from the authorities, he attacked "heretical" Karaite groups in Castile. In 1194,
he married the daughter of Joseph ibn Shoshan, thus
solidifying two remarkable Jewish dynasties.
Joseph ibn Alfakhar
was a contemporary of Abraham. He was the court physician to Alfonso VIII.
He was made the "nasi" over the entire Jewish community. He joined Abraham
in their campaign against the Karaites.
His son, Judah ibn
Alfakhar, served as physician to Ferdinand III of Castile during the first
part of the 13th century. He was opposed to Maimonides'
attempts to reconcile Torah revelation with philosophy, and he was one of
the major forces in the Maimonidean Controversies. He
maintained a written dispute with David Kimchi, the major defender of
Solomon ibn Alfakhar was a major tax collector for
Toledo in the mid-14th century. He was also appointed by the archbishop to
serve as chief rabbi and judge of the community.
from Gates to Jewish Heritage by
David E. Lipman